Maines Paper and Food Service, Inc. Picks ACOM for Blended Accounts Payable Solution; Thousands of Vendors are Involved

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Maines Paper and Food Service, Inc. is one of the U.S.' largest distributors of food and paper products and janitorial supplies, obtaining product from a host of vendors. Recently, many of the company's largest vendors began requesting that their invoices be paid electronically via the banking industry's ACH network. The requests led to Maines' implementation of a sophisticated back office payment and document management system from ACOM Solutions, Inc.

Maines Paper and Food Service, Inc., a leading independent multidivisional distributor serving a diverse customer base comprised of multi-unit restaurant chains, cruise ships, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, among others, has completed implementation of a comprehensive back office process optimization solution from ACOM Solutions, Inc, it was announced today by Business Systems Analyst Charles Gilmore and ACOM Senior Vice President James R. Scott.

Maines operates specialized divisions for its market sectors, with distribution centers in upstate New York, New York City, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, and Tennessee.

The company’s ACOM back office solution is comprised of the EZPayManager/400 payment management system with MICR laser checks and ACH electronic payments output, and the EZeDocs/400 document output management system, The EZeMail/400, EZeFax/400 and EZPDF/400 modules that serve both the payments and the document solutions. The software runs native on an iSeries Model 825 under OS/400 v. 5.3, with data from Retalix, an enterprise software system for the retail food and fuel industries.

According to Gilmore, acquisition of the new solution was driven by continuing requests for electronic payment from large vendors within the company’s pool of suppliers, which collectively furnish Maines with thousands of products ranging from fresh meats and produce to paper products and janitorial chemicals.

“The ACH requirement was the trigger for change,” Gilmore said. “Our previous provider had a solution that was cost prohibitive. Our team identified several alternatives on the Internet, one of which was EZPayManager/400, and after a thorough evaluation we determined that ACOM offered the best price-performance trade-off.”

Conversion to the new system occurred in June, 2006, with four major vendors implemented for ACH immediately and several dozen more waiting to convert.

“We have not actively promoted ACH,” Gilmore said. “Normally, vendors initiate the conversion and with ACOM’s EZPayManager/400 we can make the change very quickly and easily. It is merely a matter of getting their banking information, setting up the process with their banks and putting the data and rules into the secure ACOM software.”

So far, EZeDocs/400 has been used exclusively for creation, generation and transmission of remittance advice. With checks, the remittance advice statement indicating the invoices covered by the check is laser-printed as part of the check run. ACH payments are part of the broad check run, but electronic payments and notifications are conditionally distributed to separate files: payments to the banking industry’s ACH network, and notifications to the secure fax queue or to EZPDF/400 for creation of the EZeMail/400 attachments.

“The fact that we have multiple distribution centers, each with its own bank accounts and routing numbers, could have made the implementation complicated, but ACOM’s professional services staff handled the task easily,” Gilmore said. “The entire payment process is smooth and seamless and we are moving additional vendors to ACH payments as quickly as we can.

“There are distinct advantages to electronic payments on both sides: elimination of paper checks enhances the security of the process, reduces the number of people required and elevates the efficiency of the overall process. For the payee, there is improved cash flow, since the whole process occurs in a paper-free environment. Vendors know precisely when the funds arrive at their accounts and there is no interim paperwork or runs to the bank. There is an opportunity for considerable cost savings on both ends of the transaction.”

About Maines Paper and Food Service, Inc.

Maines is the nation's second largest independently held systems foodservice distributor. Celebrating over 85 years in the foodservice industry, Maines has more than 1,700 employees and annual sales in excess of $1.7 billion. Maines services restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, and other foodservice customers in 35 contiguous states throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Gulf States and Mid-West from nine distribution centers.

About ACOM Solutions, Inc.

Now in its 23rd year of business, ACOM Solutions, Inc. develops and implements advanced modular software systems for document output management, content management, secure corporate payment management, and B2B EDI/XML e-commerce applications, marketing them domestically and through overseas partners. Corporate headquarters are in Long Beach, California; System i Software Division headquarters are in Duluth, Georgia; and regional offices are located in several major U.S. cities. For more information call 800-603-6768, or visit http://www.acom.com.

CONTACT:    

Mark Firmin

562-424-7899

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